Life and death of the party
Life in college fraternities has been portrayed in movies like “Animal House,” “Revenge of the Nerds” and “Old School.” They are all comedies that show students that party as much as possible. Now there is a documentary called “Alpha Class,” that portrays fraternity life in much the same way as the movies. However, the happy ending for these fraternity brothers does not happen in the span of the film.
What began as a senior project for a class became a full-fledged documentary a few years later released by a production company owned by the filmmaker.
The documentary begins with a few of the members, or brothers, talking about their experience as freshmen at Arizona State University (ASU) and wanting to join a fraternity. They give their reasons, which mainly involved partying and meeting girls. The audience then sees the hazing involved. During the year, the fraternity loses its charter and everyone is left to fend for himself.
A few of the brothers don’t want to join one of the existing fraternities at ASU, so they decide to try to start with another one, which they eventually do. This is where the film gets its title: these brothers are the first class, or “Alpha Class,” of their new fraternity.
Things are not all wonderful. The new house does not do as well as the brothers would like in campus competitions and a lot of people just aren’t familiar with their house.
During their senior year, things really start to break down. The house is divided evenly in votes about parties and people think the current leadership is out of touch.
At one party, two brothers get into a fistfight because one of them has a girlfriend who is visiting. She gets upset about some of the other girls at the party so the brother wants them to go home. The person in charge of the party says the girls are staying despite the girlfriend’s wishes.
Towards the end of the school year, some of the members want to throw a huge party while others want to keep things quiet in order to stay on campus. People throw the party and the house gets suspended and the charter is revoked.
It is interesting to note that there is nothing in the film about the brothers going to class. Some reviewers have commented on this fact, but it isn’t what the film is about. The film is about the rise and fall of a fraternity.
Joe Forte, one of the producers of the documentary, says they had filmed a lot more footage but chose to focus on the parties and how they affected the standing of the house.
He also says, “There were many interactions with our chapter advisor that were good however he didn’t want to be in the film so we couldn’t use that footage.”
The filmmakers also could not show a lot of people’s face because the footage was shot in the fraternity house, which is private property. They did not have release forms from everyone who attended the parties, but all of the fraternity brothers signed waivers before filming began.
“Alpha Class” is unflinching in its portrayal of both the light and dark sides of excessive partying in college and is recommended for people who both love and hate Greek Life. You can stream the movie on most platforms, including iTunes, Vimeo and Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079VRSY8D/). You can also go directly to the movie webpage (http://www.alphaclassmovie.com) to purchase hats, posters and shirts along with a physical copy of the movie.